Customer Experience

The Impact of Technology on the Customer Experience

June 20, 2016

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Technology has advanced tremendously since the first mobile phone was used in 1973. With the invention of the Internet, a new communication form emerged as the computer became a medium for exchanging information.

Access to the Internet is possible on smartphones today, and smartphones are one of the causes of the explosion of online consumer culture in the Western world. According to Forrester, consumers spend 85 percent of their time in apps on smartphones. 

While technology has opened up new opportunities to measure the customer experience, it has also created a new challenge for companies. There is a mess of consumer information and feedback data to organize, reputations online must be monitored, and you’ve got to keep the conversation going with the customer.

You have to completely change the way you run your business because customers have the power of technology.

That’s why it’s important to have a system in place to make sense of all the customer data out there, and to use the data to improve the customer’s experience while keeping up the customer’s fast-changing needs.

According to Forrester, this year is “the most consequential year for companies adapting to digitally savvy, empowered customers.”

Technology is Transforming the Customer Experience

It’s no secret that the customer experience is impacted by more factors than word of mouth and in-store experience. The customer experience is also influenced by how a customer interacts with your website, mobile app, social media channels, and online review sites.

There are at least eight customer touchpoints driven mainly by technology: social media, online reviews, organic search, in-store technology (payment and ordering), email and news articles.

The pre-transaction experience begins online with social media, e-commerce, organic search and reviews. The customer has become dependent on these sources before making a purchase. According to Mintel, 69 percent of consumers look for advice before making a purchase, and 70 percent of those customers turn to online reviews. 57 percent of the consumers turn to social media.

After the customer has done some research and makes the decision to walk into one of your business locations, the customer is going to keep searching for reasons to purchase from your store.

For example, while the customer is in the store, she might be comparing the price of a chair to that of a similar store across the street. If the customer has made the decision to purchase, don’t be surprised if she asks if you accept Apple Pay.

Keep Up

Technology— the Internet, apps, social media, text messaging, etc.— has caused the customer experience to constantly change, and you have a choice: to ignore what’s going on or to keep up.

It’s important for individuals and companies to handle change in a positive way, Dr. Spencer Johnson argues in the book Who Moved My Cheese, a story about how to deal with change in work and life.

So the story compares humans to Mice. And yes, there’s criticism that the book is just a way for management to make what is an unfair change for employees to be looked at as an opportunity instead. One could argue that’s true.

But the idea the book presents is worth thinking about in terms of changing technology — and therefore the changing customer experience. In order to survive in a changing world, where technology is constantly advancing, you must adapt and understand what customers want— and transform into a company that is customer-focused.

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